The 17th edition of the Busan International Film Festival took place October 4-13, 2012 in this southern port of South Korea. In 2011, the festival underwent major changes when Lee Yong-kwan took over directorial duties from the founding director Kim Dong-ho, and the headquarters were moved to the impressive new Busan Film Center. In his second year, Lee managed to increase audience numbers, and the festival continues to be a major hub for Asian film, functioning particularly as a showcase for contemporary Korean cinema.
The FIPRESCI Jury, as well as the main jury led by Béla Tarr, watched the ten Asian debut films in the New Currents section at BIFF. The two awards of the main jury went to Kayan (Maryam Najafi, Lebanon/Canada) and 36 (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand), the second of which also won the FIPRESCI Prize. Another competition was in the Flash Forward section, where the jury lead by Arturo Ripstein chose Flower Buds (Poupata, Czech Republic) as the winner out of eight first or second films by non-Asian directors. A large selection of recent films from festivals around the world was screened to the great interest of local audiences who enthusiastically filled the cinemas. The festival also had special sections on works from the Afghanistan National Archives and films by Polish masters such as Jerzy Skolimowski and Krzysztof Kieslowski. Other highlights included a section on Sergei Paradjanov and Mikhail Vartanov, as well as a retrospective on Shin Young-kyun, "the male icon of Korean cinema". The Busan International Film Festival is also significant for its parallel events, particularly the Asian Film Market, attended by production and distribution companies not only from Asia but from all around the world. The Busan Cinema Forum, now in its second year, is a parallel academic event aiming to bring scholars and the industry together. The theme of this year's edition was "Politics of Film Restoration and Preservation in the Digital Era." (Melis Behlil)
Busan International Film Festival: www.biff.kr